The Anti-Laws Of Luxury Marketing #5

Jean-Noel KapfererAugust 29, 20092 min

#5. Don’t respond to rising demand.

The prime objective of traditional marketing is volume growth. It sets its sights at achieving leadership in market share to gain muscle with mass distributors, department stores and superstores, and presents itself as a force to be reckoned with in some of its lines. This ensures wide distribution and broad visibility and provides the justification for a national television advertising campaign. With sufficient volume, the business can work with small margins and still make money. This is the essence of the mass marketing model. Product managers are then judged on just one criterion – growth in annual results. At Ferrero (Kinder, Nutella, Tic Tac) it is not allowed to fall below double figures. The job of each product manager is to increase the penetration be it of Kinder Surprise, be it of Kinder Bueno, and then to push up per capita volume (consumption frequency). If the demand goes up, there have to be supplies to match it – that’s the key to this economic model. Not to satisfy rising demand is to annoy the distributor because unhappy customers will not wait and will always hold it against the company. They will take their revenge by gossiping over dinner about their bad experience with the brand. What an absolute scandal having to wait! Sheer mismanagement!

At Ferrari, production is deliberately kept to fewer than 6,000 vehicles a year – rarity value sells. So long, that is, as the customer understands why the product is rare and is prepared to wait. Rarity can be managed just like the relationship with the clientele; so it is not a matter here of poor sales forecasting but of a deliberate strategy of resisting demand in order to be master of it.

Excerpted from: The Luxury Strategy: Break The Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands by JN Kapferer and V. Bastien, in partnership with Kogan Page publishing.

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